Crack Fueled Kidnap, Murder of Montana Teacher, Officials Say

By Elisa Lagos

Feb 18, 2012 6:40pm
ap missing montana mugs 2 nt 120117 wblog Crack Fueled Kidnap, Murder of Montana Teacher, Officials Say

(Williams County, N.D., Sheriff's Dept./AP Photo)

A crack-cocaine induced high led two men to kidnap and choke Montana school teacher Sherry Arnold to death, according to prosecutors.

In an affidavit filed Friday, Richland County prosecutors allege Lester Waters, 44, was high on crack while driving with Michael Spell, 22, from Colorado to find work in the oil fields of nearby South Dakota. That’s when Waters began talking about kidnapping and killing a woman.

According to the affidavit,  posted by Billings television station KTVQ, Spell told police Waters “was capable of doing anything” while on crack and that it “brought the ‘Devil’ out in him.”

Once the two saw Arnold on the morning of Jan. 7, Spell told police, Waters told him to grab her and pull her into their car, according to the affidavit.

Waters then allegedly strangled her in the back seat and together they buried her body in an old farmstead in South Dakota using a shovel Waters had purchased at Walmart, the affidavit said. Arnold’s body has not yet been found.

Spell told police Waters threatened to kill him and his family if he ever revealed what had happened, the affidavit said. Spell allegedly did tell his girlfriend, Angel Cruz, though, and she led investigators to the suspects.

The affidavit is based on the information allegedly provided by Spell during questioning by investigators.

The two men are scheduled to appear in court Feb. 28 to face charges of aggravated kidnapping, which could carry the death penalty.

Arnold, 43, was out for a run around 6:30 in the morning on Jan. 7, when she went missing. She was a math teacher for 18 years at Sydney High School.

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